In brief

In brief

  • COVID-19 exposed great inequities in how different groups of people are treated. And, the environment continues to be a concern.
  • These human, societal and environmental issues must be addressed. Consumers expect CPGs to lead this change now.
  • Individual companies can’t do it alone or with traditional approaches. Disruptive business models are needed.
  • To create and sustain change of this magnitude, the consumer industries need to enact responsible transformation—together.

Time for big changes for CPGs

Consumers expect CPGs to help lead holistic change: 65% expect businesses and governments to "build back better"—sustainably and responsibly.

COVID-19 exacerbated pre-existing and systemic global challenges, revealing enormous flaws in how society treats its most vulnerable populations. Additionally, people continue to be worried about the planet.

Consumers are looking for holistic solutions, according to Accenture’s ongoing consumer research. It is clear individual company action is not enough. Only collective action will create the solutions needed at scale. Collaboration across the ecosystem and disruptive new business models are required.

New unifying vision for consumer industries

To help address these issues, the World Economic Forum and its consumer industries’ partners (including Accenture) and the Future of Consumption platform, have articulated a unifying vision. As part of their ongoing efforts to leverage the potential of consumer industries to effect lasting change, they focus on:


Industry actions will be shaped first by a holistic consideration of human needs.

Shared value

Actions will benefit all stakeholders—individuals, business, governing bodies, and the planet on whose resources they depend.

Operating with integrity

To ensure a sustainable and resilient future, all actions will support long-term economic viability.

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New technology as enabler

Companies have long been working individually on the complex and deeply rooted problems we are facing today. However, the collective action needed is a relatively new way of operating. Traditional barriers include concern about working with competitors or not controlling all aspects of a solution; lack of skills and capabilities to support collaboration; and existing and emerging laws (including anti-trust and privacy regulations). Developing the collaborative mindset and capabilities needed to effect these changes means breaking new ground in data sharing, governance and accountability.

Recent technology innovations are a critical enabler. Digital technologies can support significant change, facilitating an ecosystem approach, to integrate business outcomes with an expanded social and environmental impact.

Consumer industries' community goals

Improve consumer health and well-being

Imperfect Foods sells high-quality produce online via an ecosystem of growers, food banks and other partners—recovering 1M+ pounds of produce.

Advance sustainable consumption

C’est Qui le Patron (Who’s the Boss)?! uses an inclusive business model with dairy farmer members and consumers, e.g., voting on new items and prices.

Accelerate inclusive growth

The Forum’s Consumer Industries Taskforce on Future of Work, including Accenture, is exploring how to best upskill workers for a digital economy.

Build trust and transparency

The city of Amsterdam’s “Circular 2020-2025 strategy” has cross-sector ESG leadership focused on reducing waste and CO2 emissions.

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Disruptive business models open new possibilities

Disruptive business models, enabled by digital technologies, open new possibilities


Create the future… together

CPG business leaders can get started by taking three bold steps:

Leaders frequently expect a tradeoff between business results and responsibility; however, research has shown that doing both can work. Approach it as “and”, not “or”. Drive ESG goals from the top and tie to metrics and rewards.

Objectively define the most powerful value levers and align company efforts against those areas where the company has comparative advantage, or a “right to play”.

Align with other partners on the human-centric objectives and outcomes. Determine how to maximize value for all. Enact new data sharing to unlock and distribute trapped value. Agree on a governance model.

Consumer industries have a unique opportunity to rebuild, better. Through collective action, they can help make the world a more humane, healthier and better place.

Oliver Wright

Senior Managing Director – Consumer Goods & Services, Global Lead

Karen Fang Grant

Managing Director – Industry Networks & Programs, Global Research


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